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SundayNovember 4, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Bus-Truck Accident in Chile Leave 6 Dead

Bus-Truck Accident in Chile Leave 6 Dead

Photo: Mantos Blancos Mine Traffic Accident

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Six people - five adults and a minor - were killed when a Peruvian bus collided with a truck Monday on a highway in northern Chile, police said.

The accident occurred around 7:00 a.m. at kilometer 1,405 of Route 5 North, near the mining camp of Mantos Blancos.

The bus, which had Peruvian tags and belonged to the Ormeño Internacional company, was on the Buenos Aires-Santiago-Lima route when it crashed head-on with the truck, which was hauling salt to the port of Mejillones.

All of the victims, according to the available information, were Peruvian citizens, spokesmen for the Carabineros militarized police force told Efe.

The bus was carrying about 20 passengers, of whom an unspecified number were injured and transported on a police helicopter to the regional hospital in Antofagasta.

A total of 18 people died in traffic accidents during the Thursday-Sunday All Saints holiday weekend, down from the 24 killed last year, the Carabineros said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Tourist Train Derails Killing 3

Brazilian Tourist Train Derails Killing 3

Photo: Derailed train in Brazil

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Three people were killed and about 40 others injured when a tourist train derailed near Campos de Jordao, a summer resort in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state, emergency services officials said Sunday.

The accident occurred Saturday between the cities of Pindamonhangaba and Campos do Jordao in the mountainous Vale do Paraiba region when a mudslide blocked the tracks, causing the train to derail, the fire department in the nearby city of Santo Antonio said.

Ten adults and two children were taken to a hospital in Campos de Jordao, while five others, all in serious condition, were transported to the city of Tabuate.

The rest of the injured had to remain at the accident scene until late in the evening because emergency services personnel had a difficult time reaching them due to the rough terrain.

Two people were pronounced dead at the accident scene and the third victim - a pregnant woman - died at the hospital in Taubate.

Campos de Jordao, located 167 kilometers (103 miles) from Sao Paulo, has buildings inspired by those in the Swiss Alps.

The city, which offers beautiful scenery and cold temperatures, is popular with tourists looking for a holiday weekend getaway or a place to spend a vacation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

9 Die in Shootouts in Mexican Border City

9 Die in Shootouts in Mexican Border City

Photo: Shootout

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At least nine people died in shootouts involving rival drug gangs in Reynosa, a border city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, that prompted the army to intervene, a military spokesman said.

Drug cartel gunmen blocked a number of the main avenues in Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas, an 8th Military Zone spokesman said.

The first shootout started around 6:00 a.m. Saturday on the Monterrey-Reynosa highway near the entrance to the border city, leaving four men dead inside an SUV.

Gunmen then engaged army troops in the Villa Florida district of the city, the military spokesman said.

Shootouts between soldiers and gunmen occurred later in the Unidad Obrera, Granjas, Cumbres and Vista Hermosa neighborhoods, as well as in downtown Reynosa, leaving five gunmen dead, the military spokesman said.

All of those killed in the shootouts were suspected cartel members, the army said.

Gunmen blocked at least seven important avenues in the border city after the shootouts, causing chaos in the area.

Social-networking sites reported that the three international bridges were closed, but U.S. officials said the border crossings stayed open.

Reynosa is controlled by the Gulf cartel, which has been battling Los Zetas for smuggling routes in the area.

The army is carrying out “Operation Northeast” in the states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila and San Luis Potosi against the drug cartels that operate in the region.

The Gulf drug cartel has been waging a war in northeastern Mexico against Los Zetas, a band of army special forces deserters turned hired guns and drug traffickers.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and declared war on the country’s powerful drug cartels.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said in a report released on Aug. 20.

A total of 57,449 people have died in the war on drugs since Calderon took office on Dec. 1, 2006, a tally published Thursday by the Milenio newspaper shows.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peruvian Ambassador Resigns After Meeting With Shining Path Supporters

Peruvian Ambassador Resigns After Meeting With Shining Path Supporters

Photo: Former Ambassador Nicolas Lynch

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Peruvian Ambassador to Argentina Nicolas Lynch submitted his resignation to President Ollanta Humala, who accepted it on Sunday, in the wake of his meeting with supporters of the Shining Path guerrilla group in Buenos Aires.

Lynch arrived in Lima on Friday after being recalled by Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo.

The ambassador was asked to explain why he met in January with representatives of Movadef, a group that has been calling for a pardon for Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, who is serving a life prison sentence for terrorism.

Roncagliolo asked Lynch to resign after learning that the ambassador told Argentina’s Radio Master that he met with the Movadef members because “the embassy is the home of Peruvians,” media reports said.

Humala accepted the ambassador’s resignation and cancelled his credentials, a resolution published Sunday in the official El Peruano newspaper said.

Lynch took up his post in Buenos Aires in October 2011.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.

A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.

The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.

Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.

The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.

The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Fonsi, Sofia Vergara Partake in St. Jude Holiday Campaign

Luis Fonsi, Sofia Vergara Partake in St. Jude Holiday Campaign

Photo: Sofia Vergara (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

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Latin GRAMMY award winner, Luis Fonsi and Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress, Sofia Vergara join the star-studded community of prominent personalities lending their time and talents in support of the annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign.

The campaign, now in its ninth year, asks consumers to give thanks for the healthy kids in their lives, and give to those who are not.

Starting Thanksgiving week, celebrities, joined by Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will be featured in national television spots and in movie theatre trailers alongside St. Jude patients. Returning to the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign this year are long-time celebrity friends, Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams, Shaun White and Luis Fonsi.

Since St. Jude opened in 1962, the entertainment community has played a pivotal role in raising awareness and funds for St. Jude.

“For the past seven years, I have had the privilege and honor to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its precious boys and girls who come to the hospital to receive the treatment they desperately need,” said Luis Fonsi. “This noble cause allows me to lend my voice to motivate people around the world to support its lifesaving efforts and it’s with great privilege that I call St. Jude, my family.”

“There is no place like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to be a part of this year’s St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign is humbling and inspiring,” said Sofia Vergara. “As a mother and a cancer survivor, I am touched that St. Jude’s research and treatment strives to save every child battling cancer and other deadly childhood diseases across America and around the world.”

The national television spots will air on network and cable television broadcasts, as well as online, in both English and Spanish.  Celebrities will also be featured in a 60-second movie trailer that will appear in theatres nationwide.  All of the spots, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, will debut at stjude.org on Nov. 16.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Evangelicals and the 2012 Election

Latino Evangelicals and the 2012 Election

Photo: Voting booth

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Dr. Gaston Espinosa, nationally recognized scholar on Hispanic evangelicals, directed a scientific survey on Latino Religions and the 2012 elections. Espinosa, in cooperation with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) also issued and published a survey in 2008.

The survey captures interesting findings particularly on how Hispanic Catholics and Hispanic Evangelicals are currently leaning as it pertains to the Presidential election.

Latino Religions & Politics Survey Summary of Findings

The Latino Religions and Politics Survey differs from other 2012 surveys because…

    It’s recent — completed on October 10, 2012

    It’s the only survey focused exclusively on U.S. Latino religion and political behavior in the Fall of 2012, with questions on the intersection of religion and controversial social, moral, and political issues
    It’s a very large survey of 1,000 Latinos (+/-3.0%); most polls are of 300-750 people
    It’s focused exclusively on likely voters, which is a more accurate sampling method than surveying general or registered voters, since one can be registered but still not be likely to vote

The Latino Religions and Politics Survey captures a number of important findings like…

    Catholics make up 67% of all Latino Christian likely voters, Protestants 32% and Other 1%
    Born-Again Christians have grown to 39% of all Latino likely Christian voters in 2012
    Born-Again and Evangelical Christians make up 88% of all Latino Protestant likely voters
    Top 3 Election Issues?  Fixing the Economy, Creating Jobs, and Immigration
    Most Latinos believe their standard of living has remained the same or improved under Obama
    Obama leads among Latino Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals, though with some defections
    Romney, for example, received a +5 point bounce with Latino likely voters after the first debate
    Most Latinos believe Obama’s social views are moving the nation in the wrong direction

Read more about the findings at NHCLC.org

Read more by HS News Staff →

Daniela Romo, Pedro Fernandez Added To List of Performers at Latin GRAMMYs

Daniela Romo, Pedro Fernandez Added To List of Performers at Latin GRAMMYs

Photo: Daniela Romo

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Current nominees Pedro Fernández, Juan Luis Guerra, Juan Magán, and Alejandro Sanz, as well as 2012 Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Daniela Romo, are the latest performers added to the lineup for the XIII Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, it was announced by The Latin Recording Academy. Confirmed to present are actors Ninel Conde, Ana Brenda Contreras, Marcelo Córdoba, Galilea Montijo, Gabriel Soto, Mark Tacher, and Zuria Vega.

The biggest night in Latin music is set for Nov. 15 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will air live on the Univision Network from 8 – 11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central).

Twelve-time Latin GRAMMY and two-time GRAMMY® winner Juan Luis Guerra leads this year’s nominations with six: two in Record Of The Year for “En El Cielo No Hay Hospital” (as artist/producer) and “Azul Sabina” (as producer); Album Of The Year for Juanes’ MTV Unplugged (as producer); two in Song Of The Year for “En El Cielo No Hay Hospital” and “Azul Sabina” (songwriter on both); and Producer Of The Year.

DJ/Producer Juan Magán has two nods: Best New Artist and Best Tropical Fusion Album for The King Of Dance.

Fifteen-time Latin GRAMMY and three-time GRAMMY winner Alejandro Sanz also has two nominations: Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for “No Me Compares.”

Latin GRAMMY winner Pedro Fernández is nominated in the Best Ranchero Album category for No Que No….

Previously announced performers are current nominees Sergio Dalma, Lila Downs (with Totó La Momposina and Celso Piña), Jesse & Joy, Victor Manuelle, Gerardo Ortiz, Pitbull, Michel Teló, and 3Ball MTY. Actors Cristián De La Fuente and Lucero once again will co-host the Latin music industry’s premier event.

For the second year in a row, LatinGRAMMY.com will feature Latin GRAMMYs en Vivo, which will offer live coverage of the XIII Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards and interviews from various locations including the green carpet arrivals, the Pre-Telecast Ceremony, backstage, and the media center, beginning at 1 p.m. PT.                   

Preceding the Awards telecast, Univision will present exclusive “Noche De Estrellas” (“Night Of Stars”) coverage of the celebrity arrivals direct from the Latin GRAMMY Awards green carpet starting at 7 p.m. ET/PT (6 p.m. Central). Hosted by Univision Network personalities Giselle Blondet (“Nuestra Belleza Latina”) and Galilea Montijo (“Hoy”), “Noche De Estrellas” will feature live interviews and commentary on the stars and their fashions, and will provide viewers an intimate and up-close look at Latin music’s most glamorous gala event.

And for the first time, there will be a live performance on the green carpet with current Latin GRAMMY nominee Fonseca. Fans will also be able to join the conversation on Twitter via @UnivisionMusica or using #LatinGrammy as well as comment with fellow fans on Univision Musica’s facebook page.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: What Influences Latino and African Youth Voters

INFOGRAPHIC: What Influences Latino and African Youth Voters

Photo: Voter influences (CIRCLE)

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With just 4 days until the 2012 general election, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Education (CIRCLE), the premiere youth think tank based at Tufts University, released an infographic and key summary of polling data, which was released over the last week on youth and the 2012 election.

CIRCLE’s infographic illustrates the poll’s findings relating to the role young voters are playing in this year’s election, their feelings about the candidates and the top items influencing youth voters.

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Justice Department Warns of Disaster Fraud, Gives Tips for Donating

Justice Department Warns of Disaster Fraud, Gives Tips for Donating

Photo: Hurricane Sandy aftermath

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The Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) remind the public there is a potential for disaster fraud in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Suspected fraudulent activity pertaining to relief efforts associated with Hurricane Sandy should be reported to the toll-free NCDF hotline at 866-720-5721. The hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of reporting suspected scams being perpetrated by criminals in the aftermath of disasters.

In the wake of natural disasters, many individuals feel moved to contribute to victim assistance programs and organizations across the country. The Department of Justice and the FBI remind the public to apply a critical eye and do due diligence before giving to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of hurricane victims. Solicitations can originate as e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings, telephone calls, and similar methods.

Read more by HS News Staff →

5 Things the Next President Should Learn About Latinos

5 Things the Next President Should Learn About Latinos

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

Regardless of who wins the Presidential race next Tuesday, there is one undeniable factor in the mix this election: the rise of the importance of the Latino electorate.

While most of the country and many political analysts were talking about the Latino “sleeping giant,” slowly stretching itself out of slumber, rubbing the sleep out of its eyes, U.S. Latinos were building a community, raising families, and working hard.

Then suddenly, after the 2010 Census numbers were released, Latinos in the U.S. mattered – as if they had magically appeared across the country once the Census put them on the official ledger.Image

But that was just a hint of what was to come. Once the packet of Latino population statistics was ripped open and poured into the national mix, a very clear picture of the future of the United States came into view – politics included. This most recent presidential election go-around, which comes to its climax next week, will give politicos plenty of fodder to ruminate over the coming months.

Let me kick-start the process for the sake of expediency; an Obama second term will have little time to pause and ponder and a Romney Administration has over promised it’s “day one” so I want to make sure I get a word in while there is time.

These are the basic lessons about U.S. Latinos to be gleaned from the election process:

    The latino vote is national

This is no longer a Southwestern states strategy. While you were believing your own narrative about the snoring giant, Latinos were moving across the country to places that had never seen a Latino in their midst, growing communities, putting their kids in schools, opening businesses. So a 2% electorate in Ohio suddenly matters strategically and potentially more than a majority in New Mexico. And I’d be remiss in not warning you that what you see happening across the Southwest, where Latinos have become a politcal force, will happen across the country where Latinos are now just a political strategic importance.

    It’s all about respect

This is the big lesson that seems to be lost in the immigration debate.  Immigration was not a Latino priority until non-Latinos starting using it for political gain and in the process began disrespecting all Latinos, shunning Latinos as the “other,” suspecting them of being lesser Americans because of the way they were perceived. When a national poll reveals the 1/3 of all American believe that all Latinos are undocumented, then the way that the undocumented are respected becomes an issue.

If nothing else, understand this: the immigration issue is political by default, but it is an issue of respect at its heart.

    Education is the priority

This is a perennial “given.” And it increases in importance as more Latinos attain higher education. So do the math. This is a business priority: the country’s economy can’t grow without an educated workforce; Latinos are younger, growing faster and filling the nation’s classrooms;  the Latino workforce will soon carry the brunt of the economy on its shoulders; the majority of Latinos live in urban areas and go to school in urban classrooms that are severely underfunded; there are important factors in educating urban learners that should be addressed; Latinos want their children to get an education; this problem is not going away; when you talk about Latnios and education don’t do it like Latinos aren’t in the room, we can hear you, make us a part of the conversation beyond “national town halls.”

    Social issues matter

This goes back to respect and not talking about Latinos as if they aren’t in the room. When it comes to social issues, don’t try to fit us into a frame you think we should go. Latinos aren’t “like you” in that respect.  Listen to Latinos. They’re family oriented and comprise the fastest growing group within the US Catholic congregation, yes. But polls show that a majority of Latinos also favor a woman’s right to chose, and favor same-sex marriage as well as believe in the scientific proof of climate change. Don’t make the mistake of lumping Latinos into your own predefined pile, becasue that is disrespectful. 

    Latinas are key

If you haven’t figured this out, then you really don’t know Latinos. Latinas decide where the family spends the money, where the children go to school, who the family votes for. That’s not to say that the men aren’t important, but it is to say that Latinas are the center and foundation of the family and if you take Latinas into account, show them some respect, listen to them, you’ll be touching the heart and soul of the Latino community. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that Latinas sit quietly in the background.

Latinas are the fastest growing group of college students, professionals and entrepreneurs. Once you’ve understood that, you’ve won the Latino backbone and muscle, it’s men. As an added note, know this as well: you ignore the plight of Latino men at your own peril, because there will be no fiercer advocate for Latinos than the Latina rearing him and standing next to him.

For now, this is a down to basics list to get the thinking started. There’s more, to be sure, but there will be time to talk about more things in the weeks to come.

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

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Mariano Rivera Hopes to Return to Yankees Next Year

Mariano Rivera Hopes to Return to Yankees Next Year

Photo: Mariano Rivera (Keith Allison)

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New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera has informed the team that he wants to be back next season.

The Panamanian pitcher “wants to play again. I am going to work with his agent, Fernando Cuza, on the details of his contract,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Contract negotiations could be difficult because Rivera earned $15 million last season and the team is not sure how much it can offer him since he only played in nine games.

Dominican reliever Rafael Soriano, who stepped in for Rivera, pitched brilliantly, saving 42 games in 46 opportunities.

Soriano opted out of the final year of his contract with the Yankees, but he did not rule out returning to the Bronx Bombers under a new contract.

Rivera tore the ACL in his knee before a game against the Kansas City Royals in May.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mothers of Missing Migrants Finish Their Caravan Through Mexico

Mothers of Missing Migrants Finish Their Caravan Through Mexico

Photo: Caravan of mothers

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The caravan of Central American mothers, who came to Mexico in search of their offspring and to denounce the violence suffered by migrants crossing this country, concluded Saturday, having raised awareness of the problem but meeting with total indifference from the government.

“Local governments helped us with security matters but that’s all - there was no real commitment. Not one governor of the states we went through was interested enough to give the mothers a hearing,” Ruben Figueroa, a member of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, told Efe.

For 19 days, 38 family members of missing migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala toured 14 states to talk about the problem and seek clues as to the whereabouts of their missing sons and daughters.

The caravan made 23 strategic stops at places along the migration route and succeeded in reuniting five mothers with their missing children. Another son was found, but in the end a reunion with his mom could not be achieved.

“One of the important results is having the civil organizations in the places we passed through coming out in solidarity with the mothers of the caravan and promising to join the search for the missing migrants,” the activist said.

These organizations committed themselves, for example, to launching a search for missing Central Americans on their databases in order to increase the number of mothers being reunited with their sons and daughters.

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Multiple Plane Crashes Kill 6 in Brazil

Multiple Plane Crashes Kill 6 in Brazil

Photo: Twin-engine plane

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At least six people died and a youngster was injured in two air accidents in Brazil over the past 24 hours, authorities of the western state of Mato Grosso and the southern state of Santa Catarina reported Saturday.

The first crash, in which four people were killed, occurred Friday afternoon in the mountainous region of Chapada dos Guimaraes, at 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Cuiaba, the capital of Mato Grosso, a state bordering on Bolivia, municipal firefighters said.

Aboard the twin-engine plane, the pilot and copilot were flying two engineers of the Mato Grosso Transport Secretariat who had supervised paving works in Confresa, at 1,160 kilometers (720 miles) from Cuiaba, and lost control of the aircraft while approaching the regional capital.

In a similar accident on the coast of Santa Caterina state bordering on Argentina, a single-engine plane went down in the sea on Saturday near the beach of Taquarinhas in the city of Camboriu.

According to state police, flying in the aircraft were the pilot, an adult and an 11-year-old boy, who was the only survivor and who was hospitalized but without serious injuries.

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Mexico Shuts Down Korean Electronics Company Post Supervisor Attacking Worker

Mexico Shuts Down Korean Electronics Company Post Supervisor Attacking Worker

Photo: Still from the attack (Noticieros Televisa)

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A South Korean firm in the central Mexican state of Queretaro was shuttered two weeks after a Mexican worker was attacked there by his Korean supervisor, officials said.

The labor secretary of Queretaro state, Tonatiuh Salinas, told Radio Formula that the Sam Won Mexico firm - a supplier to Korean electronics giant Samsung - was closed Friday, citing its failure to guarantee adequate working conditions.

He said the plant was inspected on Oct. 29 and several irregularities were detected.

In an Oct. 17 incident captured on video, supervisor Kim Jaeoak shook 23-year-old Jorge Alberto Zamora and struck him with martial-arts kicks to the face and chest. The worker was fired several days later.

The video was posted on the Internet and aroused indignation in Queretaro and around the country.

Zamora filed an assault charge against Kim.

While acknowledging the need to “favor and promote foreign investment in our country,” Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said Thursday that Mexican authorities will not tolerate “attitudes that infringe on the dignity and safety of workers.”

The incident was also criticized by the Queretaro government, the South Korean Embassy in Mexico City and Samsung Electronics Mexico.

Sam Won and Samsung Electronics Mexico also offered a public apology to the affected worker and his family.

Kim failed to make a court appearance Friday, Salinas said, adding that he may be brought before the judge by police.

A total of 38 South Korean firms operate in Queretaro, employing some 12,000 people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Soliders Killed in FARC Minefield Near Ecuador Border

Colombian Soliders Killed in FARC Minefield Near Ecuador Border

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Two Colombian soldiers died and another four were wounded after setting foot in a minefield installed by FARC guerrillas operating in the southwestern province of Nariño bordering on Ecuador, army officials said Saturday.

A communique from the Colombian armed forces said the fatalities and the wounded belonged to the Pegasus Task Force that was carrying out search and control tasks in the hamlet of Sumbiambi.

The dead soldiers were identified as Gilberto Estrada Cantillo and Carlos Andres Olarte Leon in the document reporting the incident that occurred on Friday.

The commander of the Pegasus Task Force, Gen. Mario Augusto Valencia, denounced the incident in the name of the “soldiers of Colombia,” while expressing his condolences and solidarity with the victims’ families.

According to the army, the minefield was laid by members of the 22nd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The Colombian govnerment and the FARC are preparing peace talks after installing the negotiating table in Oslo, Norway, on Oct. 18, and will continue in Havana about halfway through this month.

The initiative seeks to put an end to a conflict that has afflicted the Andean nation for almost half a century.

Pasto, the capital of Nariño, welcomes this weekend the Regional Peace Tables at which regional leaders seek to reach agreement on proposals they will then forward to Havana.

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Colombian Arrested in Argentina Denies Being Drug Lord

Colombian Arrested in Argentina Denies Being Drug Lord

Photo: Henry de Jesus Lopez Londoño

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Colombian Henry de Jesus Lopez Londoño has denied in statements to Argentine authorities any drug-trafficking ties and said he had been living a “normal life” in a residential area outside Buenos Aires, where he was arrested this week.

“My son goes to school and they know me in the neighborhood. If I’d been hiding, I wouldn’t have gone in person to reserve a table with a friend in his SUV. I wasn’t with bodyguards and I don’t go around in armored cars like they said,” Lopez Londoño, alias “Mi sangre,” told Noticias magazine Saturday through his attorney, Carlos Olita.

The suspect, who is being held at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza jail, was arrested Tuesday at a restaurant in Pilar, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Buenos Aires, in a operation that included the cooperation of the Colombian police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lopez Londoño is wanted for extradition by the United States on drug-trafficking charges.

The suspect said he entered the country 10 months ago with a Venezuelan passport and was living with his wife and two children, one born in Argentina, in a house outside Buenos Aires. He added that he drove high-end vehicles and led a “normal life.”

Lopez Londoño said he had changed his identity on his immigration documents “to protect myself from the persecution I was suffering in my country. I’m going to prove that in the case with my attorney.”

“I’m a businessman. I buy and sell vehicles. I’m setting up a business to devote myself to real estate,” he said through his attorney.

He said he only has one home in Argentina and that “it’s not true I have six or eight properties.”

Olita, for his part, told Efe that his client’s wife and one of their children were granted refugee status in Argentina in 2008 but lost that benefit a year later after leaving the country to temporarily return to Colombia.

The 41-year-old Lopez Londoño is accused of being the top boss of Los Urabeños, a paramilitary organization with drug ties that is considered one of Colombia’s most dangerous criminal groups.

His arrest in Argentina and the refugee status granted his family have sparked controversy about the level of controls in place to prevent the spread of drug trafficking in Argentina.

Lopez Londoño is suspected of having been a lieutenant of paramilitary chief Diego Murillo, better known as “Don Berna,” who was extradited to the United States in 2008 along with other leaders of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, to face drug and money-laundering charges.

The AUC, which was founded to battle leftist rebels, deteriorated into a loose association of drug-dealing death squads led by men who amassed large fortunes. It ostensibly disbanded in 2006.

AUC fighters killed more than 250,000 people over the course of two decades, according to a U.S. State Department cable disseminated by WikiLeaks.

In his statement to a federal judge in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, Lopez Londoño said his arrest was politically motivated and that the charges against him were “invented” in the Andean country in collaboration with the United States.

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SundayNovember 4, 2012